Our objective for the day: Castleton Tower.
The weather may look nice but the winds were 40-50mph at the base.
Each year during our family ski trip to Telluride I try to sneak away for a day of climbing. Telluride is located in the middle of some of the best and most varied climbing in the country. From world class ice and mixed climbing in Ouray to long, intimidating trad routes in the Black Canyon to splitter desert cracks in Moab, Indian Creek, and Arches National Park, there are many lifetimes worth of climbing within a couple hours’ drive. And the skiing is pretty good too.
Andres (my guide from San Juan Mountain Guides) and I left Telluride at 6am intending to climb the Kor-Ingalls Route on Castleton Tower just outside of Moab, Utah. Kor-Ingalls is one of the 50 Classic Climbs of North America, so it’s a popular objective. We arrived at the parking lot around 9am and began the strenuous approach, which gains over 1000 feet in about 1.5 miles. According to Mountain Project, “the approach takes an hour if you are in shape.” Unfortunately for me, however, Andres isn’t just in shape — he’s a world class alpinist. So after 45 minutes of suffering (on my part) we were standing at the base of the route. The weather was mostly sunny but the wind was howling, with gusts approaching 50 mph. At times it was hard to stay balanced just standing still. After checking out alternate routes, we decided to bail. We could have made it to the top, but it would have been very unpleasant. So we hiked back down the trail and drove to Potash Road (a.k.a. “Wall Street”) just outside of Moab.
Potash Road (a.k.a. “Wall Street”)
Potash road has a nice collection of trad and sport routes that are literally a few feed from the road (which is also a popular cycling route). We climbed 8 routes, focusing mostly on cracks.
Andres running it out on the splitter crack of Flakes of Wrath
I can’t remember the names of all of the routes we climbed, but here are the ones I do remember:
- 30 Seconds Over Potash
- Flakes of Wrath
- Flakes of Wrath Direct
- El Cracko Diablo
- Lucy in the Sky with Potash
We climbed until about 4:30 then packed up and headed back to Telluride. We were denied on our primary objective but I got a good taste of Moab area climbing. I’ll be back to tick off Castleton soon…